Today's edition of May I Introduce is me being kind of selfish. The 1965 Shelby Cobra Mk III is easily one of my favorite cars of all time. I mean, look at it! It's beautiful! Also, I decided to do this weeks on the Cobra because I found one! In Anchorage, Alaska of all places! Unfortunately the owner of this Cobra wasn't around for me to ask a few questions and verify if this is a legit Shelby Cobra or a kit car. Either way, who wouldn't want one?
The Shelby Cobra initially was a joint venture between Carrol Shelby (obviously) and AC Cars. The Mk I Cobra was based off of AC Cars 1961 AC Ace-Bristol so named for Bristol straight-6 that AC Cars was putting into cars at the time. The Mk I was produced from 1962 to 1963.
The Mk II Cobra was produced from 1963 through 1965 and got a 4.7L V8 over the Mk I's 4.3L V8. Aesthetically, the Mk I and Mk II were pretty much identical. The only real difference was in the weight where the Mk I was 2,019 pounds (916 kg) and the Mk II was 2,315 pounds (1,050 kg).
Then there was the Mk III. My personal favorite. The engine's considered for the Mk III where the Stroker 289 and the Cammer 427. At the last second, Carrol Shelby decided to go with the 7.0L 427. You can imagine how much more oomph that had over the Mk II at only 40 pounds (18 kg) heavier.
Carrol Shelby wanted the Cobra to beat the Corvette. On 2 February 1963, that dream was realized at Riverside International. Dave Macdonald was the driver that recorded the Cobra's first ever victory against a field of Corvettes, Jaguars, Porsches and Maseratis.
Other versions of the car exist as well. There was the Dragonsnake which was designed for Drag racing. There was the Daytona Cobra Coupe in 1964 which was designed to improve the top speed on the Mulsanne straight during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There was also the Super Snake in 1966.
And now I will leave with something a little sad. In 2004, Ford unveiled a concept for a new version of the Cobra. While the front end makes the car look a little sad, I still wish they had gone through with it and produced it, even if only a limited production run. The concept had a 6.4L V10 with a 6-speed manual. Who wouldn't want that?
Photo's: My iPhone/Wikipedia